The Failure of Success: Market-Structured Consciousness

Don't try to think.Sorry to say, I just read this article that confirms what I’ve believed all along, “Is Credit Card Debt the New Way to Survive in America?” It proves my point about how commerce has virtually co-opted life. Natural-human consciousness seems to have morphed into market-structured consciousness. (Coined by author Jay M. Handelman.)

The article reports the findings of a study done by Allianz Life, a Life Insurance Company:

“Over the last three decades, there has been a collective shift in how people view debt – it’s now perceived as a normal part of one’s financial experience and that has fundamentally altered the way people spend and save.”

And perhaps even more telling when the article concludes that, “Americans are relying on credit cards like food, water, fire, or shelter.”


A mind overtaken by the financial goals of commercial interests speaks to the concerted efforts and subsequent success of the marketing and public-relations industries. We have Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, to thank for fully igniting the mind of commerce.

Who was he?

Edward Bernays, 1891-1995, was the nephew to the well-known psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. Like his uncle before him, Bernays believed in the predictability of the human unconscious as regarded the psychological and human motivations of self-preservation, security, aggression and sex. He transferred what he learned from his uncle to help launch his career in public relations. As a result, he succeeded in making bacon a mainstay of the traditional breakfast for the pork industry in 1915, smoking fashionable for women (by calling cigarettes “torches of freedom”) for the tobacco industry in the 1920’s, and fluoride indispensable to dentistry (a waste product of aluminum) for Alcoa Aluminum in the 1930’s.

He additionally used his talents to shape American public opinion when hired by the U.S. Government. In 1916, Bernays helped Woodrow Wilson win his second term as president using the slogan, ‘He kept us out of the war.” During World War I he continued to work under Woodrow Wilson’s administration as a member of the Committee on Public Information, the group credited with making popular the notion that World War I was entirely about the United States championing democracy for the countries of Europe.

His list of celebrity clients included President Calvin Coolidge, Procter & Gamble, CBS, NBC, the United Fruit Company, the American Tobacco Company, General Electric, Dodge Motors, the Hotel Association of New York City; the Waldorf-Astoria, the Celanese Corporation, Continental Baking Company, Philco, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Time Inc., Clare Boothe Luce, and Samuel Goldwyn.

Bernays’ messaging mastery during wartime set the standard thereafter during times of peace. According to his daughter, her father was a believer in “enlightened despotism,” because he thought people were basically stupid, acting on a herd mentality. Fast forward, his impact lives on.

The human mind appears to respond willingly and instinctively to suggestions of how to think about something. When it relates to commerce and becomes popular, it is reflected as increased consumption even when to our own demise. Perhaps the biggest winner, in this regard, is the banking industry due to its superficial education about money and personal finance. Via mega-bucks-marketing campaigns aggressively employing emotional hooks to convince people their credit cards are indeed essential, banks win over both hearts and minds.

Those with the biggest marketing budgets win! Yet all the while the same financial industry that promotes credit cards operates within a global monetary system: the root cause of needing credit in the first place! If more people wanted to understand how money actually works (and works against them), there would be a huge outcry and demand for an honest system of money.

But I digress.

With just about every aspect of life captured, branded, and marketed (including religion and personal relationships), the top-of-mind question has become, “What’s in it for me?” However, this carefully developed and now pervasive market-structured consciousness is, in fact, a complete failure. Commerce will never replace the non-commercial truth of what it means to be human: to care, to love, to be cared for, and to be loved.

Long gone are the days when personal values would instead lead us to consider how to do unto another as we would be done by. But it is never too late to make this U-turn, starting first within ourselves and then as a collective.


5 Responses to “The Failure of Success: Market-Structured Consciousness”

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  1. Will says:

    Consciousness could be the greatest blessing and curse of mankind, lol 🙁 Whether market-structured or personal values, they’ve all had their share of failures. The Golden Rule has been embraced by many philosophers/religious leaders, etc., and fortunately, the rule isn’t reducible to one philosophy or religion. Do you know of a society that’s seriously embraced it as a foundation of their economy? It works well on a one-to-one basis, obviously, but I just don’t know if it would on a larger scale. I do see a buzz around some crypto-currencies with a similar outlook, but it always comes down to being able to finance those things, which usually entails the same credit system you’re looking to overcome. Tough to overcome.

    ~ Will

  2. Paul Cappadona says:

    Another great job. Keep up the work of the better way, His way. We have all gone astray but the people of His kingdom recognizes His voice in your writings. These things are the kiss from above that can wake us from the sleep the world puts us under.

  3. Terry says:

    Hi Susan,

    Very good article.

    I didn’t know that even though Woodrow facilitated the crime of the century, the passage of the criminal Federal Reserve Act in 1913, that he was elected to a second term. Obviously the media kept it from the people that he had said that by facilitating the Central Bankers, he had ruined his country.

    Several notable people, Aaron Russo for one, have attempted to show Americans the criminality of a government being forced by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, to borrow the people’s money at interest from arch criminal, international bankers of the Rothschild created and controlled Federal Reserve. There is nothing “federal” about it and there are no “reserves” backing their computer entry money. Most every penny of the tax on people’s labor goes straight to these bankers as interest on these shark loans while the people are driven deeper and deeper into impossible-to-resolve debt. The money changers hold a merciless mortgage on mankind.

    It is perhaps very telling of the total dependence on credit of which you are painfully aware, that recently Canada’s money became fully plastic. Everyone up here thinks the thin plastic money is disgusting, the way the bills stick tight togeather, melt in the dryer etc. I humor myself with the “conspiracy theory” that they are incrementally and subliminally conditioning us to plastic only!


  4. Rob says:

    This is extremely enlightening and unfortunately too true. In order for someone to establish credit, they have to go into debt and pay on it with interest to be “blessed” with a credit score. Even when you know your credit score, it is not the same score that lenders look at so it is not even a transparent process.

    Then our children are saddled with preposterous amounts of student loan debt which conditions them to accept the state of indebtedness for life. After they graduate, they try to find the illusive job that will pay them enough to pay off the student debt and are often forced to go into credit card debt to live.


  5. Ross Luxon says:

    I believe this is true and part of that consciousness or unconsciousness as it may be includes bankruptcy which is so expensive but theoretically will be the only way out of the spiral….Bankruptcy as a way of life…Creditors already accept it as many choose not to show at hearings but merely write off the debt….Down with responsibility, maturity, self respect and serenity and up with frustration for the average joe.

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